• 28Sep

    When we were in Deer Lodge, Montana recently, I stumbled upon the most adorable quilt shop.  It’s in an old bank building.  The building is great looking even from the outside.

    But when you go in, it gets even better!  Check out that marble counter.

    It was a long narrow space with very high ceilings and a loft.  There was even marble on the stairs going up!

    There was a great view of the shop from up there!

    Isn’t the millwork around the door beautiful?

    The displays were so well done, with kits and patterns hanging near all the samples so I didn’t have to ask.

    It was a great shop!

  • 21Sep
    Categories: quilting Comments: 5

    I LOVE it when quilts come a-visitng!  Yesterday I had a phone call from a woman who had just come into possession of a signature quilt and she thought I might like to see it.  Me?  Look at a quilt?  Eespecially an old quilt?  Hmm.  I said, “Okay,” before she could finish her sentence.  So today, Lois and our mutual friend Cortne` came by to show me the quilt.  Here’s its story.

    Lois and her family are from the Palouse–an area that spans the Washington/Idaho border and is known for it’s fertile farm land.  Coincidentally it’s where my Grandma Ikey grew up!  Bill Taylor photo, snagged from the web.

    Recently, an aunt of Lois’ passed away.

    Lios was unable to visit her aunt’s home, but her brother was invited to come by and see if there was anything he would like as a memento.

    When he saw this quilt, he knew he’d better take it for Lois.

    What a good brother!

    Judging by the fabrics, this quilt was made in the late Thirties or early Forties.

    Lois recognized several of the names on the quilt, including another one of her aunts, Elva Calhoun.

    It’s beautifully made and quilted, and I loved looking at the fabrics (of course!).

    There was even someone with the last name Snyder, but, alas, not a relative of mine.

    Here’s Lois with her new treasure.  Big kudos to her brother for making sure this quilt stayed in the family and is now living with someone who loves it.

    If there are any more quilts that want to come visit me, I’m ready!

  • 20Sep

    When Bob and I were in Montana last month, we visited the State Penitentiary, now a museum!  I love this old post card image I found on the net.  I was just wondering, who was the intended consumer for this postcard???

    It was interesting but also kind of creepy touring the prison, which was still in use until the late 1970′s.

    The prison is in Deer Lodge, Montana, and is now part of a large museum complex, including a fabulous car museum and a doll museum as well as the prison.

    Nearby is the Grant Kohs National Historic Site, a part of the National Parks system.  Don’t you love the visitors’ center?

    The entrance to this cattle ranch was down a path which took you by this old wagon…

    ,,,and these teepees.

    Fittingly, the public restrooms were in a log building!

    At one time, the Kohrs family ranched 10 million acres.  Can you even imagine?  It is still a working ranch, but now there are only 1,000 acres.  Still sounds like a lot to me!

    In the beginning, the Kohrs family had a modest home, but they prospered and added on to the house.  The result is a beautiful Victorian farm house.

    No photos were allowed inside, but I did find these on the NPS website.  The parlor was lovely.  Mrs Kohrs was born in Germany and made many trips back, bringing lovely things to furnish her home.

    The kitchen was quite modern!

    The dining room was in the addition and was fabulous.

    The tour exited through the back of the house.

    I love the old steps….

    …and the picket fence…

    …and the flower garden.

    The most beautiful pink poppies were blooming.  They have been growing there since Augusta Kohrs’ day.  I asked if they sold seeds in the gift shop and our guide said they did not.  Then she said, “Just help yourself!”  I’m so glad we were there when there were mature seed pods.  Next year I should have pink poppies in my garden to go along with the purple ones I already grow!

    There was an authentic chuck wagon.

    And a pretty authentic looking “Cookie!”  He offered us boiled coffee, which Bob tried.

    I loved all the little accoutrements.

    And how ingenious is this little basin which hangs over the wagon wheel!?!

    They still raise longhorn cattle here.  I tried to get this guy to lift his head for a glamour shot, but he was too interested in the lush grass.

    It was a great spot and I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

    One last note.  Not all early settlers were as prosperous as the Kohrs family.  This photo was on display in the car museum, of all places.  The reason I like it so much is because of the shelf decoration.  I always say that the thing that differentiates humans from animals (besides the fact that we have a soul) is that humans decorate.  No matter how bleak the surroundings or how difficult the lifestyle, people have always made an attempt to beautify their homes.  I love it!

     

     

     

     

  • 15Sep

    We had so much fun with the Summer Bow Tie blocks that people are clamoring (well, at least asking) if we’re going to do another block for fall.  Well, of course we are!

    What was the Summer Bow Tie Block Challenge all about?  It was about making a quilt block a day.  It was about getting into your sewing room if even for just a few minutes.  It was about using up some scraps!

    If you’d made one quilt block each day from the beginning of summer until the end of summer, you would have made 94 blocks!  I’m not sure anyone managed the one-a-day approach, but it still kept many people sewing.  Lots of people are finishing up their quilts now and posting them on the Facebook page.  Here’s Toni’s that she posted today.  There are lots of photos on the Facebook page.  Feel free to check them out.

    Ready for the next challenge?  How about Hour Glass blocks for fall?  Did I hear a moan?  Really, they’re easy.  It’s just a twice sewn half-square triangle–kind of like biscotti–twice baked cookies!  If you make one block each day during fall, you will have 91 blocks made before the first day of winter even sets in!  Here’s what an Hour Glass block looks like.

    A few minutes ago I decided to make a few blocks and takes photos so I could post this tutorial  Since I have shelves full of fabric bolts, it’s really tempting to just pull a few down and start cutting.  But, I really need to do something with all my scraps.  So, I pulled out one of my scrap bins.

    I cut a bunch of 4-1/4″ squares.  These will make a 3″ unfinished Hour Glass block.  Note: You can make any size blocks.  The formula is this–add 1-1/4″ to the finished size you desire.

    I cut some cream solid to go with them.  You can get ten 4-1/4″  squares from a strip.  Mark a diagonal line on the solid squares.

    Pair a solid square with a print square, right sides together.  I used two matching solids and two matching prints.  This will yield four Hour Glass blocks.

    Stitch 1/4″ on each side of the drawn line.

    Cut apart on the drawn line.

    Press to the print fabric.  (Yes, I have an orange iron!)  You’ve made a half-square triangle–and you’re half way finished!

    Now take two of your half-square triangles and put them together, light against dark, dark against light.  Snug up the center seam.

    Draw a diagonal line that passes through your stitched seam.

    Stitch 1/4″ on either side of the line and cut apart.

    Voila!  An Hour Glass block.  Wasn’t that easy?

    Here’s a little pressing tip.  Wiggle the intersection a bit to loosen a stitch or two.

    Finger press seams in opposite directions.  This really eliminates bulk in you seams.  A teeny tiny four patch will show up in the middle if you do this correctly.  Your seams will press to the light, but that’s okay.

    Turn it over and give it a press.  Trim away the dog ears.  There it is–your first Hour Glass block.  Actually, you’ll get two blocks from each pair of fabric.

    Since I did two pair, I ended up with four blocks.  This is a very traditional way to put Hour Glass blocks together, but there are lots of possibilities with this block.

    Use two different prints when sewing your half-square triangles together.

    Much more scrappy.

    If you put your four blocks together with all the browns facing in, it forms a pinwheel.  Magic!

    Or you can just mix them up for a scrappy effect.

    You don’t even have to use a solid if you want to go totally scrappy, like this.

    I hope you’ll join in the fun.  Come to the new Facebook Page, A Quilt Block A Day.  Even if you don’t make blocks, it’s fun to watch everyone’s progress.

     

  • 03Sep

    Bob was born and raised in Montana, and we go back as often as we can.  We generally drive, and one of our favorite little towns to stop in is Ritzville, Washington.  Unfortunately, in the last 20 years that I’ve been traveling through there, the downtown has lost many businesses.  We would always have a meal in one of the downtown restaurants, but they’re all gone now.

    Our favorite was the Circle T, but even its sign is gone.  The Whispering Palms is closed, too.

    As is the old theater.

    I think the bar and grill is hanging on!

    No gas today.  Most of the business has moved out by the interstate exchange.  Bye, Ritzville.

    Well, you know you’re in Montana when the sconces in the restaurant look like cow skulls!

    We stayed in Kalispell and had breakfast at Sykes.  Yep, 10 cent coffee!

    We went with some of Bob’s family to Glacier Park for a picnic.

    There’s a handsome bunch!

    We were on the shores of Lake McDonald.  Breathtaking!

    I love the tenacity of trees.

    I think it’s so cool that they still have the red busses in the park.  (Yellowstone has yellow ones!)

    This is the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell.  The grounds were the prettiest I had ever seen them.

    Kalispell has some cool old buildings, like the fabulous art deco TV station.

     

    And the very proper City Water Department.

    The old theater.

    We had lunch with Vernon and Thelma, now both in their late eighties.  On the wall was this picture of Vernon and Pastor Pete.  I think Vernon is as handsome as Marshall Dillon!

    We had breakfast one day at Wheat Montana.  Loved the poster.

    This is the view from Bob’s cousin Glenn’s house.  Talk about Big Sky Country!

    Wheat fields in the front of the house and the Flathead River out the back!  It doesn’t get much better than that!

    Another tenacious tree.  It’s a long ways from the river now, but I think spring floods have had a go at it a time or two.

    A couple more old signs.

    And a Beaverslide!  For those who don’t know, it’s used for stacking hay.

    Next, our visit to the state penitentiary!